Rocket HUB external antenna

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mjl4111
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 2

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

I just purchased and installed that kit exactly for my new Rockethub ZTE MF275.  

 


@Geezer wrote:

I checked out the MiMo antennas listed in Amazon and the small indoor/outdoor ones seem to be identical although the listing mentions specific Hubs targeted for their use. The antenna listed for the MF275R is this one:

 

http://www.amazon.ca/Indoor-Outdoor-Antenna-MF275R-Rocket/dp/B0182ISUX0/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A3...

 

It appears to have a double ended pigtail connector and comes bundled with two low-rent 30' cables which I would probably want to replace with heavier low loss cables.

 

I just have to consider whether the small boost in performance would be worth the $135 price tag


 

 

The cables are something I would definitely consider upgrading (the end at the hub already pulled out once, while trying to screw it on)

I extended mine with an additional 30 ft of cable, and mounted it on a mast that was already on my roof. (about 30ft off the ground)

 

Before I installed the external MIMO antenna, I was consistently getting 5-8Mbps down, and 1-2Mbps up, with the standard antenna's and sitting in a window facing the tower)

 

With the new antenna, my speeds are in the 20Mbps down, and 5Mbps up.  The fastest has been 27.63Mbps down, 6.73Mbps up  (speedof.me & speedtest.net)

 

My signal strength did not seem to improve,  but the speeds are well worth the investment in my installation.

 

ZTE MF275

approx 6Km from tower

Signal Strength -113 dBm

 

Geezer
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 70

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

It is good to see someone beating the bushes on the antenna front. I too picked up the identical antenna kit from Amazon, but have not gotten around to installing it yet. I think I'll have to hire someone to do the work since I am not as agile on the roof and on a ladder as I used to be. I'll keep in touch and report on how thing go when I decide to go ahead with the work.

mmax
I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

Weather permitting, I'm going to install mine (275 + Amazon kit) this weekend.  Any idea which of the 2 cables on the antenna are H vs V?  Or just keep trying?.....

mjl4111
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 2

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna


@mmax wrote:

Weather permitting, I'm going to install mine (275 + Amazon kit) this weekend.  Any idea which of the 2 cables on the antenna are H vs V?  Or just keep trying?.....


When I installed mine, I didn't worry about H or V.  I figured that if the first connection order didn't work, flipping the two cables at the ZTE would fix it.  I either got lucky all the time, or it didn't matter.

I started in the house with connecting the hub to the cables so that when I was on the roof, I could use a smartphone to test signal strength and speed before tightening everything down.  I also used this site (http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/cancellsites.html) to help me aim the panel antenna in the general direction of the closest Rogers tower.

 

Luckily I have an almost ideal roof setup, so installation of this antenna, and removing all the old gear was relatively easy.

 

IMG_20151202_162103 (1).jpg 

 

I did, however, have to pull power, and the battery to reset the ZTE MF275 at one point, as it had a wireless signal, but no internet access.  That seemed to correct the communications issue.

 

Hope that helps...

 

 

ManicMechanic
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 12

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

In looking at that panel antenna from amazon, I think that the internal elements are actually at 45 degrees and 90 degrees to each other.  That is they are in an "X" rather than "+" arrangement.

 

This would mean the H and V don't matter very much.

mmax
I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

So with nice weather today I got the antenna up on the mast. 

 

Signal strength is -102 to -104 db (4 bars LTE) - roughly unchanged from the rabbit ears. But speeds seem to be stronger and more consistent - speed test shows 37 ping / 45-46 down / 5-6 up. Download speed is about +10 from the rabbit ears.  

 

I tried switching the cables without any significant change - which supports ManicMechanic's hypothesis. 

 

All in all, I'm very satisfied with this setup. 

kco
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

I was using a Huawei B890-66 router because the MF275 with external antenna connections was not available when I first connected with Rogers.

 

This thread made me aware of the MF275 and gave a good start for my external antenna research. I have ordered a YagiRef2-QLP from BestCellDist.com as shown here:

 

http://bestcelldist.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=119&products_id=119883

 

It is actually two YagiRef-QLP antennas made by WirEng:

 

http://www.wireng.com/yagiref-qlp/

 

The WirEng site has several other models such as the Giant, YagiMax and YagiRef-Plus that also should work. There are good specification pages on the WirEng.Com site.

 

I chose the YagiRef2-QLP because I am 30 km from the tower. I anticipate a 20 dB gain. I also considered two Wilson 314411 antennas mounted at + and - 45 degrees to replace the single Wilson 304411 I have now. It is rated at 7.3 gain @ 700 MHz and 10.4 dB at 2100 MHz is similar to this from amazon.ca:

 

http://www.amazon.ca/MF275R-external-Periodic-antenna-highest/dp/B0182IV13G/ref=pd_sbs_107_1?ie=UTF8...

 

The confusing aspect about this item is it does not mention using two antennas.

 

Two antennas at +/- 45 degrees are important for LTE because the signal is polarized at those angles. At least that is what I gather from articles, the antenna supplier, a Rogers 2nd-level support person, and this YouTube video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB1v_YDqjOk

 

.... explaining why you need two antennas. It is one of six videos that contributor posted on YouTube.

 

I will add a second 50' cable. I went with another LMR400 from InfiniteCables.com:

 

http://www.infinitecables.com/antenna-cables-and-accessories/

 

with N male and SMA male connectors. The YagiRef2-QLP has FME connectors and N adapters. I will use a 12" LMR195 SMA female to SMA male connector to make it easier to connect to the MF275R.

 

My antenna shipped from Texas January 28, and finally left Toronto February 11. I hope it will arrive this week. I'll install it as soon as possible--weather and snow and ice on the roof permitting. I already have the new cable and drilled the second hole through the house.

 

It is important to consider low loss cables for longer runs. Using a low gain antenna with a long cable could end up making things worse. The InfiniteCables link above has a chart. Another article said to estimate 1/4 db loss for each connector.

 

My antenna research started when our service became unusable for long periods in late December. Until then the LTE service with the non-Rogers Huawei B890-66 was reliable--consistently giving 20-30 mbps download speeds. I had to prove my site was not a fault. The non-Rogers router was a concern so I purchased an MF275R. Although promised a 2nd-level callback five times it did not happen until the fifth call. Even then, the 2nd-level support person almost closed the call without contacting me because everything looked fine on his end. I'm glad he called. We discussed the sudden deterioration in service, trouble-shooting on my end, and patterns I saw in the down time. He looked further on his radio and mentioned some receive signal value looked suspicious. It looked like an intermittent equipment problem or outside interference. He must have found something--our service has been reliable since.

 

The MF275R manages just 9 to 12 mbps instead of the Huawei B890's 20 to 30 Mbps. That is fine because it is reliable. However, the MF275R did get 30-40 mbps for short period one day. I think it managed to switch to a better LTE frequency and get true MIMO service.

 

The Rogers support person was helpful. He was able to see my place(using Google Earth?) with a good idea of the distance, terrain and vegetation. He recommended an antenna. He said lower frequencies are better for my location's 30 km distance and intervening trees. Lower frequencies have more range and are less affected by trees. Also, the lower frequencies should be less susceptible to signal deterioration from many users. He said it is best if my router connects at 700 MHz because it is only used for LTE and less crowded. Other frequencies share multiple protocols, some of which actually reduce signal strength as they become busier. LTE signal strength does not diminish with more users. At least I think that is what he said!

 

My existing single Wilson 304411 is rated 850-2100 MHz and expected to boost about 7.3 to 10.4 dBi. That agrees with what I see at my router. I had around -110 dB with the rabbit ear antenna and -100 with the Wilson. There is no way to tell what frequency it is using.

 

The YagiRef2-QLP is rated for a 22 db gain or more over the entire frequency range. I'm hopeful it will improve speed and maintain reliability if signal conditions deteriorate again.

 

I'll report the results here when I get it running.

kco
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

I installed the YagiRef2-QLP antennas today. They are connected with 50' LMR low-loss cables. I am 30 km from the cell tower.

 

YagiRef2_Antenna.jpg

 

Before installation the MF275R rabbit ears were reading -106 dBm with an average download speed of 10.4 Mbps over six tests.  The old single Wilson 304411 antenna consistently showed signal readings of -100 dBm and download speeds the same as the rabbit ears.

 

With the YagiRef2-QLP the signal was -92 dBm with an average download of 21.9 Mbps over 18 tests.  The YagiRef2-QLP doubled the download speed and signficantly improved the signal.  The MF275R management pages show an LTE connection with 5 out of 5 bars. I think the download speed is mainly due to the 2nd antenna.  I may have seen the same improvement using cheaper WirEng antennas or other manufacturers' antennas such as the Wilson model 314411.

 

That said, I'm happy with the more capable YagiRef2-QLP.  It should provide more consistent service.

 

 EDIT: Adding photo showing path to cell tower.  The tower is behind the trees at the bottom of the ridge heading down from the left side.  The cell tower is directly in line with the left edge of the left close fir tree.  The large poplar tree and other deciduous trees may affect the signal a bit when they leaf-out.

 

20160224_Antenna2 (1024x576).jpg

 

 

cousinjerry
I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 3

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

I have a MF275 running now with an outdoor panel MIMO antenna set up.  After installing the antenna I didn't see much of an improvment in the speeds.

 

I'm still at 3 bars and about -106dbm speeds around 7 down/5 up and only about 4km from the tower.

 

I'm going to try to get the antenna higher but also need some additonal cable.  What are people using?  I have the standard 30' of LMR200 currently but since I need to extend, I'm thinking about going to LMR400.

 

Any cable suggestions?

kco
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

usinJerry, some questions:
- do you have two antenna cables to the router?
- what make and model is your antenna?
- do you have a clear line of site to the tower?
- does the MF275 show as connecting on LTE?
- do you know the frequencies for the tower to which you are connected?
- is your antenna mounted outside or inside?

 

If you are just 4km from the tower it seems like your signal should be much better than what you are getting.

Google "LMR400 vs LMR200" to see the possible improvement for different cables. This chart:

 

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/coaxperf.html

 

gives an idea. For 2400 MHz LMR-200 is 16.5 dB vs 6.6 dB for LMR-400.

 

So for 30' you likely have somewhere around 5.5 dB loss for your LMR-200. LMR-400 would have about 2.2 dB loss. If your antenna is not rated for more than 5.5 dBm at 2400 Mhz it could actually make things worse.

 

If you do need additional cable it would be best to install a new LMR-400 for the complete length. However, you may need a more effective antenna. One article I read suggested a 1/4 dB loss for each connector.

 

Take a look at the links I posted above for more information on antennas. The + & - 45 degree is important for LTE service. Also, the WirEng site I mentioned has good antenna information to help determine which will help for your situation.

 

Your signal seems weak for being only 4 km from the tower. However, other factors such as heavy traffic or congestion on other parts of the non-cellular network can affect your speed. My download speeds vary between 10 Mbps and 22 Mbps although the signal quality stays the same. Before adding the polarized antenna I was getting 3 to 10 Mbps. Also, my previous non-Rogers Huawei B890-66 router seemed much more capable than the MF275.